Man under “house arrest” kills one, wounds seven in Toronto shopping mall food court

Paul T. writes (June 4):

Big story here in Toronto, as reported by the National Post today. Here is a drawing of the accused. Below is the key part of the article. I have italicized what for me is the punch line:

The man accused of spraying bullets in a brazen weekend attack at the Toronto Eaton Centre made a brief court appearance Monday and was remanded into custody. [LA asks: what does “remanded into custody” mean? He was already in custody when he was brought to court, wasn’t he?]

Christopher Husbands, 23, faces one charge of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder after the Saturday shooting sparked mass panic at the downtown shopping hub.

A lawyer acting on behalf of Mr. Husbands shielded his face with a notebook as he stood in the prisoner’s box for the minutes-long court appearance. He wore a grey jacket over a dark hoodie, with his black hair cut short….

Police say Mr. Husbands was on house arrest related to another matter at the time of the attack, which killed 24-year-old Ahmed Hassan and injured seven others, including a 13-year-old boy who was shot in the head.

Glad to see that house arrest works so well.

LA replies:

I’ve read two National Post articles now, the one you sent and another one, and neither gives a sense of what the incident actually consisted of, other than a man firing a gun and lots of people running. It’s all vagueness and confusion. Did the shooter aim at one person, and just spray bullets everywhere in the act of shooting at that one person, or was there a gunfight in which bullets were sprayed everywhere, or what? You get the feeling that in Canada it is considered a violation of social manners to describe things directly and clearly.

Paul T. replies:

The shooter, Husbands, and his primary intended victim (Ahmed Hassan) belonged to the same gang. It’s not clear what the issues were between them, or whether Husbands knew that Hassan would be in the mall or just came upon him by chance. At any rate, Husbands saw Hassan in the food court and shot him dead. He also shot another young man repeatedly, so that appears to have been by design as well. The four other shooting victims—including the 13-year-old boy, who required brain surgery today—were apparently just collateral damage. I’m not aware that anyone at the scene other than Husbands drew a gun. I have heard that he had been involved in another shooting incident some hours before—I don’t have confirmation on that—but if so, it seems he was determined to make a full day of it. I am, as I said, struck by the fact that Husbands was under house arrest at the time of the shootings—more than one poster on the CBC and National Post websites has said “Nice to know just how effective house arrest is.” The Eaton Centre, by the way, is a truly massive mall and reportedly a tourist attraction, and it was shut down on Sunday while police raked it down for shell casings and other evidence.

It’s impressive to consider how one savage with a gun can not only kill and wound people, but also cost merchants, insurers and so on a vast amount of money and disrupt the ordinary activities of thousands of people. It will be interesting to see whether the shooting victims or their surviving relatives will be able to sue the public authorities who, in managing Husbands’ “house arrest,” assumed responsibility for protecting the public from him. I don’t know whether the authorities enjoy any statutory exclusions from liability in a case like this, but if not, the damages payable—and ultimately borne by the taxpayers—could be enormous.

Incidentally, a couple of blocks north of the Eaton Centre, a 15-year old girl, Jane Creba (white), was killed on Boxing Day 2005 by a stray bullet fired in a battle between rival gangbangers (black). The liberal press—which in Toronto is largely synonymous with “the press”—was going on today about how “shocked” Torontonians were by Saturday’s violence. In fact, no one has forgotten Jane Creba, and no one I spoke to today seemed at all shocked. Certainly not if “shocked” is taken to mean “surprised.”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 05, 2012 10:31 AM | Send

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